Battleground states have different rules for counting ballots

2020 Election

(NewsNation Now) — Different battleground states have different rules when it comes to when ballots are counted.

The rule differences could cause delays in declaring a winner in some states on election night.

In Wisconsin, a state with ten electoral votes, officials cannot start counting mail-in ballots or early votes until Election Day. And the count cannot be paused after it begins.

In Michigan, a state with 16 electoral votes, larger cities can sort mail-in and early ballots starting Monday, but they can’t count them until Election Day.

In Pennsylvania, a state with 20 electoral votes, election officials also can’t start counting mail-in or early votes until Election Day.

Mail-in ballots post marked by Election Day can be counted until Nov. 6.

Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar says to ignore any candidate making premature claims of victory in her state. She says the counting will likely take days.

“There’s no basis in Pennsylvania or federal law for a candidate to declare a race is done or an election is done until the statutory requirements for that election are done,” Boockvar said.

Other key battleground states will likely have results processed much faster.

Florida, with 29 electoral votes, already has their early and mail-in votes pre counted.

Arizona, with 11 electoral votes, has also already been counting early and mail-in votes.

And North Carolina, with 15 electoral votes, also allows officials to pre-count all early votes.

But if it is close in North Carolina, things could get delayed because mail-in ballots postmarked by election day can be counted until Nov. 12. And processing mail-in ballots can be time consuming.

“If Biden gets lucky and this is the Democrats night, by 11 or 12 o’clock on Tuesday we will know who is the next president. If things go as they usually do, we will have to wait for some slow counting states to present their votes,” Dr. Charles Zelden, a political science professor at Nova Southeastern University, said.

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